Rushed Reactions: #11 Dayton 82, #10 Stanford 72Posted by David Changas (@dchangas) on March 27th, 2014
David Changas (@dchangas) is the NCAA Tournament’s South Region correspondent. He filed this report after #11 Dayton’s 82-72 win over #10 Stanford. RTC will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Taking Care of and Sharing the Ball. Many thought Dayton would struggle to handle Stanford’s size, but the Flyers were able to control the game by taking care of the ball and by moving it on the offensive end and getting excellent looks all night. Dayton ended up with only 10 turnovers and 19 assists on 28 baskets, not to mention the fact that they never trailed after the 9:32 mark of the first half. The Flyers’ performance on the offensive end was a clinic, as they held their own on the glass against the bigger Cardinal, ultimately shooting 48% for the game. Dayton also had a balanced attack, as it had three players in double figures, and 11 players scored overall. Stanford, meanwhile, got only two points from its bench. And while Stanford’s leading scorer, Chasson Randle, ended up with a game-high 21 points, he was held to 5-of-21 shooting and was forced into a number of bad shots.
- Size Doesn’t Always Matter. After trailing by 10 at the half, Stanford came out in the second half with a concerted effort to get the ball to Stefan Nastic and Dwight Powell, its low-post stalwarts. It worked, as the Cardinal cut the lead to four early in the half, but Dayton was able to adjust. Every time the Cardinal cut into the Flyers’ lead, Dayton was able to get an easy basket and stop the run. Unlike Kansas, the Flyers did not allow Stanford to take them out of their offense, and they outworked the Cardinal big men for key offensive rebounds when they weren’t making shots. On the defensive end, Dayton held Stanford to only 37.9% shooting.
- Dayton Shows it Belongs. Dayton is the only team left in the NCAA Tournament that is not from a BCS conference. The Flyers spent most of the season on the bubble, but have taken advantage of their bid in advancing to the school’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1984. After taking care of two traditional powers in Ohio State and Syracuse, Dayton got a favorable draw with tenth-seeded Stanford, and took advantage. The Flyers clearly were not intimidated by the big stage, and showed they belong. They will now get a chance to advance to their first ever Final Four, and though they will be prohibitive underdogs in their next game, Archie Miller’s squad should not be counted out.
Star of the Game. Jordan Sibert, Dayton. The junior guard scored 18 for the Flyers and went 4-for-9 from three-point range. Sibert came into the game as Dayton’s leading scorer, and had hit 42.9% of his threes. He didn’t disappoint tonight, and constantly got open for good looks.
Quotable. “I though Dayton did a really good job of executing their offense, especially in the first half. They were relentless. They have two players at every position, and they come in waves.” — Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins.
Sights and Sounds. Dayton has always been known for being a great basketball town, and the Flyers’ fan base did not disappoint on this night. FedEx Forum had plenty of empty seats, but Dayton did its part. Both sides of the upper deck had a considerable number of Flyer fans, and they made themselves heard. Meanwhile, it would be a stretch to say that Stanford had as many as 500 fans in attendance.
Wildcard. Coming into the game, Dayton guard Kendall Pollard averaged eight minutes per contest, and two points per game. On this night, the 6’6″ freshman scored 12 points, and it was the first team he had reached double figures. Pollard came into the game having totaled two points in the Flyers’ wins over Ohio State and Syracuse. Strange things happen in March, and Pollard’s performance far exceeded anything coach Archie Miller could have expected.
What’s Next? Dayton will face either UCLA or Florida in Saturday’s regional final. While most will say that the Flyers are playing with house money at this point, given the way they’ve played in the Tournament’s first three games, they will expect nothing less than a victory and a trip to the Final Four.